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“A Night In Old San Antonio®” brings the heritage of San Antonio alive in 15 cultural areas through 200-plus food, drink and atmosphere booths and 14 musical acts

March 1, 2019 Visit USA No Comments Email Email

“A Night In Old San Antonio®” (NIOSA®) is a four-night festival in the heart of downtown San Antonio that celebrates the city’s diverse cultural legacy for more than 85,000 revelers annually.

Sponsored by and benefiting the San Antonio Conservation Society, the 71sth presentation of NIOSA will be held April 23-26, 2019, during the city’s Fiesta San Antonio® celebration. NIOSA is the top fundraiser for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto as a “Celebration for Preservation.”

Maria’s Tortillas–one of NIOSA’s favorite and oldest dishes–a NIOSA original!

Through the magic of more than 200 food, drink and atmosphere booths, 14 live musical acts, children’s games, decorations, costumed volunteers and souvenirs, NIOSA brings the city’s diverse cultural legacy alive in its 15 cultural areas: Mission Trail (early years of the San Antonio Missions); Arneson Theatre (amphitheater built in 1941 into the natural curve of the city’s river bank); China Town; Clown Alley; French Quarter; Froggy Bottom (cultural contributions of African-Americans); Frontier Town; Haymarket (produce and livestock markets near San Fernando Cathedral during the city’s Spanish Colonial period); International Walkway (showcases different ethnic groups that developed San Antonio’s unique heritage); Irish Flats; Main Street USA; Mexican Market; Sauerkraut Bend; South of the Border (Northern Mexico influences); and Villa España (Spanish and Canary Islanders heritage). Check NIOSA’s digital media kit at for a complete list and interactive map of all food, entertainment and drinks in these 15 areas.

WHEN:     Tuesday through Friday, April 23-26, 2019, from 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. Gates close and alcohol sales stop at 10 p.m.; food sales and entertainment continue until 10:30 p.m.

WHERE:    Grounds of the La Villita National Historic District—the 18th century Spanish neighborhood, bounded by the San Antonio River and Alamo, Nueva and Presa streets (approximately five acres).
WHO:     NIOSA is sponsored solely by the San Antonio Conservation Society. Founded in 1924, the Conservation Society is one of the oldest and most active community preservation groups in the U.S. Beginning with efforts to prevent historic structures from being razed and to preserve such unique sites as the city’s Spanish Colonial missions, the Society has been responsible for saving most of the historic attractions that now make San Antonio one of the top tourist destinations in the country. The Society was integral in the Missions’ nomination as an UNESCO World Heritage Site, initiating the nomination process in 2006 and supporting the nomination until they were awarded UNESCO World Heritage status in 2015. The Society’s support of the Missions includes a substantial donation to operation of Mission San Juan Spanish Colonial Farm.
PROCEEDS: NIOSA is the top fundraiser for historic preservation in the nation and truly lives up to its motto as a “Celebration for Preservation.” The NIOSA committee is able to present the San Antonio Conservation Society with an average of more than $1.6 million annually in NIOSA profits to fund the Society’s preservation of historic properties and parks throughout the city and neighboring counties, as well as education and advocacy programs such as the Heritage Education tours for more than 2,500 fourth grade students annually; over $1.6 million (yes, $1.6 million) in renovations and improvements to La Villita since 2000; $2.5 million (yes $2.5 million) in building grants available to all San Antonians in the last 20 years—and that is just a few examples.

NIOSA invests approximately $1 million back into the community by using local entertainers and suppliers. In addition, approximately $500,000 is paid to the City of San Antonio for health, fire and electrical permits; SAPD security; and to lease La Villita.

NIOSA chairman Margie Arnold, elected by the Conservation Society in July 2017 and 2018 as its Fourth Vice President/NIOSA Chairman, volunteers her time all year to plan and coordinate the event, and is assisted by four NIOSA vice chairmen and NIOSA treasurer—also all volunteers. They oversee the 10,000 volunteers who contribute more than 150,000 volunteer hours to make NIOSA happen.

What makes NIOSA unique from festivals around the world?

  •     Food items are created, perfected, and prepared by NIOSA volunteers on-site and truly reflect the areas where they can be found. Many dishes can only be enjoyed at NIOSA.
  •     All booths are run by Conservation Society volunteers; many are second or third generations of a family. Volunteers come from all over the country to work at NIOSA.
  •     On the average, NIOSA revelers annually consume over 17,000 lbs. of beef; 11,000 lbs. of chicken; 5,000 lbs. of sausage; 3,000 turkey legs; 25,000 buns, rolls and bolillos; 30,000 tortillas; 2,000 lbs. of masa; 6,000 tamales; 15,000 lbs. of fruits and vegetables; and 1,000 lbs. of guacamole.
  •     All musical acts play all night, every night, of NIOSA

TICKETS:    Gate tickets are $15 for adults; children 12 and under are free when accompanied by an adult.
Discount advance tickets are available starting March 1 for $12 at and locations around the city. Discount e-tickets for smart phone or tablet (or can be printed) are sold on NIOSA website.

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